This might only make sense to fellow writers, but the characters in After the Storm have begun leading me into plot twists I was hoping to avoid. Many years ago I had a similar issue with a character in another story. I was so invested in finding a way around who she kept turning out to be that I ended up aborting the project. In retrospect, I should have paid more attention to where she was taking me and less to my preconceived ideas about the kind of protagonist I wanted for that tale.
I won’t make that mistake again. As I follow Daphne and her friends and family into new territory here are some of the things I will be asking them as I write.
No, the subject matter of these questions should not necessarily be interpreted as foreshadowing. I can guarantee with 99.99% certainty that there are no pterodactyls in Daphne’s world, but how she reacts to them may be similar to how she’d behave in other settings.
It would be fascinating to see how my readers answer them, though!
- A flock of hungry pterodactyls are attacking your neighbour’s sheep. If the sheep are destroyed your neighbour and their family will face a high risk of running out of food over the winter. You do not have any weapons with you, and if you leave to warn your neighbours their animals will almost certainly be destroyed. To what extent are you ethically obligated to protect the herd?
- How would your daily routine change if you knew the exact date, time and cause of your death? Would your answer to this question change if you believe you could influence your expiry date?
- To what extent are people capable of changing? At what point is it too late to atone for a terrible choice you made many years ago?
- Is it worse to beat someone nearly to death once or to spread malicious lies about them for a decade?
- Would society crumble if everyone stopped believing that free will exists?
- Could karma work in a world that only had limited free will?
- Are all secrets harmful? Is there ever a good time to hide something important from someone you love?
- What would it take for you to have an honest change of heart about your most fervently held beliefs? (e.g. registering as a member of a political party that endorses something you currently find deeply unethical.)
- Martin Luther King once said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Do you agree or disagree with him? If you agree with him, is there anything we can do to slow down or speed up its arrival?
- If you could resurrect one person from the dead and interview him or her, who would you pick and what would you ask them?